Keep New York Covered: Message Development and Testing
Special Projects Fund
June 16, 2022
Although the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, the formal public health emergency is expected to expire at the end of October 2022.
Along with its expiration comes the termination of many federal policies, including a continuous coverage requirement that prohibited states from terminating Medicaid enrollees’ coverage while the public health emergency was in effect. States will need to reassess eligibility and process re-enrollments for all enrollees, and consumers will need to take action to keep their coverage. Millions of people could potentially lose coverage. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is in the midst of a planning process to redetermine eligibility and re-enroll 8.7 million New Yorkers—either in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, the Essential Plan, or in subsidized coverage on the Marketplace. It is preparing its IT systems to automate as many renewals as possible and training enrollment assistors to resume regular activities. However, NYSDOH needs assistance with launching a community-informed communications and messaging plan for consumers. In 2022, NYHealth awarded Ichor Strategies, through fiscal sponsor Health Research, Inc., a grant to develop communication and outreach strategies for NYSDOH and its community-based partners to help New Yorkers re-enroll in health insurance coverage at the end of the pandemic public health emergency.
Under this grant, Ichor will develop comprehensive, tailored plans and messages to reach New Yorkers. Ichor will focus on communities in Buffalo, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens—demographically diverse and representative regions with large populations who are at risk of losing coverage. Strategies will be transferable to other communities across the State that have similar needs and demographic makeups. It will conduct research and analysis in each of these regions on geography, race, ethnicity, language, immigration status, type of coverage, and enrollment status of consumers. It will also identify potential barriers for re-enrollment as well as assets in each community. Ichor will then conduct interviews and listening sessions with community stakeholders, including navigators, certified enrollment counselors, consumer advocates, and community health centers. Findings will be used to identify messaging needs and gaps and to develop tailored outreach campaign plans for each community.